Essays and Literature

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The Girls in My Town: Essays

Angela Morales

Winner of the 2017 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay

The autobiographical essays in The Girls in My Town create an unforgettable portrait of a family in Los Angeles. Reaching back to her grandmother’s childhood and navigating through her own girlhood and on to the present, Angela Morales contemplates moments of loss and longing, truth and beauty, motherhood and daughterhood. She writes about her parents’ appliance store and how she escaped from it, the bowling alley that provided refuge, and the strange and beautiful things she sees while riding her bike in the early mornings. She remembers fighting for equal rights for girls as a sixth grader, calling the cops when her parents fought, and listening with her mother to Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman,” the soundtrack of her parents’ divorce. Poignant, serious, and funny, Morales’s book is both a coming-of-age story and an exploration of how a writer discovers her voice.


Angela Morales lives in Pasadena, California, and teaches at Glendale Community College. She holds an MFA from the University of Iowa and is a recipient of the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award for nonfiction.


“The twelve essays in The Girls in My Town take an honest look at the rich experiences of girls trying to make space for their intelligence and imaginations. . . . An auspicious debut.”


Rigoberto González, NBC News Latino

“In this remarkable autobiographical essay collection, Angela Morales paints a stunning portrait of growing up and finding her voice in Los Angeles. . . . Morales is a home run-hitter of a writer, and she'll have you holding on to your seat with every page.”



“Compellingly rendered. . . . Essays that are as thematically ambitious as they are deeply personal.”


Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Morales has a strong, lyrical voice, and her essays and anecdotes can be humorous and loving and darkly meditative as they address family, beauty and violence, loss and love. In short, this collection is as varied, charming, stark, and inspiring as life itself, in Los Angeles or anywhere.”


Shelf Awareness

“It’s Morales’s ability to explore the complexities that lie beneath the surface of the seemingly mundane, her patient and unflinching handling of her story, and her drive to expose larger truths that makes this such an elegantly crafted collection.”


Los Angeles Review of Books

“(Morales’s) is the kind of writing that makes reading so rewarding.”


Story Circle Book Reviews

5.5 x 8 in. 184 pages